Michael Ross Lapides, 64, active in local charities


Michael Ross Lapides, a business executive active in charitable works, especially in Baltimore's Jewish community, died of complications from surgery for a brain tumor Saturday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Baltimore resident was 64.

Until his retirement about two weeks ago due to his illness, he was the director of facilities for Ciena Corp. in Linthicum, where he had worked since 1996.

A Baltimore native, he was a 1959 graduate of Forest Park High School and was a "diner guy" from the crowd later made familiar in the Barry Levinson film Diner.

He received his undergraduate degree and a master's degree in business administration at the University of Maryland.

After receiving his degrees, he worked for L. Greif & Bros., the Baltimore clothing maker. Then, for 25 years, he worked for what was then Citigroup in Towson as a facilities director, before leaving to join Ciena.

He was active in several Jewish community organizations over the years, including The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. He was one of the leaders of The Associated's 1993 fundraising campaign.

At the time of his death, he co-chaired the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership Committee, which furthers The Associated's charitable work in Baltimore's sister city in Israel.

He also served as first vice president of the Baltimore Jewish Community Center and as chairman of its long-term planning about a decade ago, and was involved in Hillel House.

"He was a very purpose-driven guy. He felt like he should give back. He enjoyed helping other people," said his son, David Lapides of Baltimore. "He wanted to feel like he was making a difference."

He served on the board of the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Poland, an educational center about Jewish life in that region before the Holocaust.

Five years ago, he traveled to Odessa, Ukraine, with other members of The Associated to establish and fund several social programs to aid the Jewish community there.

Other community work included Habitat for Humanity, Christmas in April, Literacy Works, the League for People with Disabilities and the Hopewell Cancer Support Center. In conjunction with the Central Scholarship Bureau, he sponsored a scholarship this year for a Forest Park student to attend college.

He was a member of Beth Am Synagogue.

He enjoyed golfing, traveling and entertaining.

"He enjoyed the beach. He did the Polar Bear Plunge every year in Rehoboth," his son said.

He married Suzanne Levin Silverman in 1999. A marriage in 1971 to Mary May ended in divorce in 1987.

A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road.

In addition to his son and wife, survivors include two brothers, Steven Lapides and Victor Lapides, both of Baltimore; two stepsons, Reid Hand of Reisterstown and Joshua Silverman of Dallas; a stepdaughter, Dana Carr of Arlington, Va.; and four step-grandchildren.


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